Down the Rabbit Hole
It’s not everyday you get an class that not only requires you to explore your new hometown, but to also use your favourite spot as an assignment topic for credit. Winning!
In true fashion, I decided to go a bit under the radar and explore Jiyugaoka, a beautiful little neighbourhood known for its stylish shops and more importantly, sweets!
Hidden to the south side of the station is a place called ‘Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest,’ a themed restaurant experience where Alice might have stubbled upon on her way to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. It’s a dessert made forest Wonderland!
Setting and Atmosphere
The interior is adorable with the pink cut out trees and cute picturesque shop fronts. As you can see, this forest is not just one restaurant but made of many individual patisserie shops offering their own signature dessert experience. Want something with strawberries? Look no further than the cute ‘Berry Berry’ shop. Maybe a fluffy soufflé? ‘Le Soufflé’ is were you can get your fix! There’s even have a Hong Kong style dessert house selling not only traditional Chinese desserts but also Yum Cha dumplings if you want some more savoury. Ah, I miss home~
While theme restaurant’s don’t always get the best rep as the food is more “style over substance,” each shop’s head patisserie chef is a professional in their field and the store’s creations are almost like their trademark so the desserts are not only pretty, but you feel like you are eating something that was well made and special! They even have seasonal rotations of their creations on display at the front of the store to admire their craftsmanship and hopefully get your hands on later.
In Japan, there is a term called 「旬/shun」which describes the moment of seasonal food at its peak. The term has a bit more meaning than simply saying “its in season” as it’s more like a celebration of the time the ingredient is at its most flavourful state during the harvest. Currently strawberries are in season so I had to try Berry Berry’s creations which just so happens to be all strawberry based for December. Japan’s strawberries are the best!
Sweet and girly to the “G,” I went with the Princess Tiara Roll (L) and the Strawberry Mont Blanc (R) with a basic black coffee for a set. Though the coffee wasn’t anything special to rave about the cakes were very nice indeed. Not too dry or overly sweet. The Mont Blanc had the special touch of a raspberry jam in the centre which was a nice touch to add some tartness.
Though I can’t comment on all the desserts available at Sweets Forest this time, I was pretty happy with the taste of these cakes at Berry Berry!
At first it was a bit disorienting to figure out the “system” if you will at Sweets Forest for a first timer. It’s a theme restaurant but with no wait service except for Le Soufflé with “general” staff who are stationed at seating points to help bust tables (but in Japan it is polite to also bust your own table as well) and also welcome you to the space. The seating areas are shared amongst the shops meaning that no matter who you order food from, you are still able to sit at any area with the exception of Le Soufflé. The staff are friendly though and very prompt to help you if you need some guidance or to take the tray off you when in the busting area. The experience is sort of a stylish cafeteria Starbucks vibe if you will.
Pricing and Value for Money
Great value for money to sit down and enjoy a light snack. The desserts are really not too expensive and with no entry fee which is a norm for themed restaurant sometimes.
Where: 2-25-7 Midorigaoka, Meguro, Tokyo 152-0034
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 10AM – 8PM
Until Next Time!